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Full text of "My Country And My People"

WOMAN'S  LIFE                     163

by altering them we alter the whole outlook of life.

Modern girls are subjected to current ridicule in Chinese
magazines for their superficialities, their love of luxury, and
their loss of industry and other domestic virtues. For apparently
the influence of Mae West is greater than that of Mary
Wollstonecraft. The fact is, there are two types of girls: those
who figure so prominently in city life, and the more serious-
minded and intellectual ones who are not in such prominence
and who disappear into good homes. Some of the politically
prominent women who court publicity are the worst scoundrels
of their sex; they therefore do not represent modern Chinese
womanhood. On the whole, these modern influences must be
taken as liberalizing influences working for the good of Chinese
womanhood and therefore of the race. The first important
effect is on the girl's physique. The exposure of female thighs
in athletic contests, so much regretted by the older generation,
must in the end work for the good of the nation. With the
development of physique comes a more naturally graceful
movement than the boudoir-cultivated movements of the
bound feet.

Consequent upon this physical change is a change in the
ideal of female beauty, from the repressed quietness of former
days to the more natural sprightliness of a human being,
approaching that of European ladies. For it does one good to
hear women laugh a hearty laugh, and it is better than to hear
them giggle. The artificial restraint and over-sexual i zation
of women under Confucianism must give place to a more
human view, and can no longer come back. The danger is
rather of desexualization and of the total loss of the womanly
woman. The idea of women trying to ape men in their manners
is in itself a sign of women's bondage. Let women be proud of
their own sex, for only in the fulfilment of their sex and its grave
responsibilities will they be truly great. Compared with the
Western women, the modern mature Chinese women are still
perhaps more poised and dignified, but they lack, on the other
hand, the spontaneity and spirit of independence of their
Western sisters. Perhaps it is in their blood, but if so, let it be as
it is, for only by being true to their race can they be great also.